The Conservative Business Secretary, Alok Sharma, has fallen ill after contributing to debates in the House of Commons – with symptoms that resemble Covid-19.
His illness occurs just days after MPs were forced to return to the House of Commons rather than participate in online debates, in a plan devised by Leader of the House Jacob Rees-Mogg, who claimed that online voting slowed debates unduly. Apparently queuing 2km around the Parliamentary precincts and down the road to vote causes no delay at all.
Nobody can say that Sharma caught his illness – whatever it is – in Parliament. The question now is, how many people will he have infected by attending?
If it is Covid-19, then we won’t see the first infections from contact with Sharma for another fortnight at least.
The reaction on Twitter has been uniformly condemning:
Virus-swapping party courtesy of Rees-Mogg.
He should resign. https://t.co/dfjsgDEgOK
— simon maginn (@simonmaginn) June 3, 2020
Looks like Johnson and Co want to kill off all the MPs as well.
— Pasteur Eyes #UTA (@broncoskolar) June 3, 2020
I hope he is OK. This was so obvious today, that he didn't seem well. There is no way that this hasn't been spreading in parliament. For goodness sake. https://t.co/h8qQmXlpvq
— Jess Phillips MP (@jessphillips) June 3, 2020
This is a very good point. We have a high-profile case here, that we can use to model the effect in schools if a pupil, parent or teacher turns up with the virus. Of course, if they do, then by the time anybody finds out it will be too late – so all we can do is try to quantify the damage.
The reopening of The Commons shows a disgraceful disregard to health risks.
MPs are now Covid vehicles, travelling in and out of London exposing all to risk.
The message is worse than Cummings’s trip to Durham.
We have moved from “protect the NHS” to “take your chances”.
— Howard Beckett (@BeckettUnite) June 3, 2020
To follow the spirit and letter all that were in close proximity to him will have to self isolate – preferably on Rockall. https://t.co/s1LNdQs4OK
— Mike Harding #lightacandlefotheEU (@HardingMike) June 3, 2020
There is an upside (there’s always an upside):
If Alok Sharma has CV19, what does this mean in terms of track and trace for the MPs dragged back to Westminster by the Haunted Pencil?
I ask merely for information.
— lifeintheartslane 🕯 (@life_arts_lane) June 3, 2020
This was Alok Sharma voting yesterday. Tory MP's Saqib Bhatti & Paul Scully didn't look 2m away from him at all times while they were queuing up. If Sharma tests positive for Coronavirus I wonder if they'll be contacted by Track/Trace & told to self isolate? If not, why not? pic.twitter.com/WOh4ESdxQS
— Saul Staniforth (@SaulStaniforth) June 3, 2020
What a great opportunity to get the beleaguered “Track and Trace” programme back on track – showing how it works by using MPs as guinea pigs!
It will necessitate Jacob Rees-Mogg falling on his proverbial sword – with a full apology for endangering everybody. Some of us can’t wait for that.
And what about this?
I wish Alok Sharma a speedy recovery but this confirms that lives of both staff & MPs are being put at risk in Parliament. It was an irresponsible decision by Rees Mogg & Johnson to force open Parliament. It must now revert to lockdown & online operation. https://t.co/hfAyze1BE8
— John McDonnell MP (@johnmcdonnellMP) June 3, 2020
Will Rees-Mogg – and Boris Johnson – revert to locking down MPs?
Will they have the choice, if many are infected?
Or will they insist on keeping it open, endangering not only their colleagues but our democracy?
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